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Do you need nuclear energy for us? Letter to opposition politicians

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Open letter with questions from scientists and NGOs to the leaders of opposition
parties, clubs and parliamentary circles. Are the democratic opposition’s energy strategies and plans to build nuclear power plants in Poland identical with those of the United Right government?

Ladies and Gentlemen,
With great surprise we received the attitude and positions presented in the media of some
representatives of the political opposition, expressing uncritical and sometimes even
enthusiastic approval of the government’s actions and the propaganda of the Law and
Justice Party regarding the construction of nuclear power plants in Poland.
We address you, as leaders of circles aspiring to take over the government in Poland after
winning the elections, with questions to which the obtained answers will allow us,
representatives of environmental protection circles, to understand your attitude to the
government’s energy policy.

The key question to which we would like to receive an answer is: Do you consciously
support the direction taken by the Law and Justice government, according to which the
energy transition over the next 25-30 years shouold be reduced mainly to a technological
change consisting of replacing some inefficient large coal-fired power plants with even
larger and inefficient nuclear power plants?

In the documents describing EU climate and energy policy, the energy transition is
presented not only, or even primarily, as the abandonment of fossil fuels (a kind of “sideeffect”),
but above all as energy saving (energy efficiency), the decentralisation of energy
systems, the democratisation of the debate on implemented and planned energy policies,
and the maximisation of public participation in climate action and energy policy.
None of these objectives can be achieved by centralised companies, monopolising the
market, which are also supposed to manage nuclear power plants on behalf of the State.
None of these tasks can be carried out by centralised companies, monopolising the
market, which are also supposed to manage nuclear power plants on behalf of the State.
The results of countless surveys since 1987 have shown – contrary to the currently
prevailing propaganda – that public opinion in Poland was and is consistently sceptical
about the construction of nuclear power plants. For more than 30 years, the number of
opponents to the construction of nuclear power plants in Poland has consistently
outweighed those in favour – the majority of the Polish society has always opposed the
construction of nuclear power plants.

The latest poll on this issue conducted by CBOS in 2021 showed that 39% of respondents
were in favour of producing energy from the atom and 45% opposed it. (CBOS report).

Even more negative answers were received when asked about the construction of a
nuclear power plant in the “neighbourhood” of the respondent – depending on the date of
the survey, the number of opponents of nuclear power plants ranged from 57 to 72%.
According to the Ipsos survey, there is also a clear gender division: Polish women are
much more sceptical about nuclear energy. And among 18- to 39-year-olds, the positions
of women and men are quite the opposite: there’s a 72% support for nuclear energy
among young men, and only 38% among young women.

None of the age groups of women has a majority in favour of atomic power.

Despite the massive propaganda in favour of nuclear energy, which, in the face of the
energy crisis caused by the aggressive warfare of the Russian Federation, promotes the
false thesis that there is no real alternative to atom, and creates the illusion that the
majority of citizens supports this technology. And despite the lack of a proper public debate
on the issue, public opinion is still strongly divided on this issue.

On the other hand, other results of social surveys clearly show that Poles value renewable
energy sources the most, while coal and nuclear energy are the least popular. And even a
temporary increase in support for nuclear power cannot hide the fact that the most
valuable and promising energy source in Poland, in the public perception, are all forms of
renewable energy.

A wrong decision on this matter, with huge and far-reaching financial
consequences, could plunge Poland into additional economic difficulties, block the
much-needed development of citizen energy and a pioneering model of electroprosumer
energy, and stifle innovation in the field of energy production and use!

The scientific community also points to other costs associated with the choice of highly
centralised nuclear energy: the highest thermo-environmental costs (consumption of nonrenewable
resources) and the highest grid load, inconsistent with the needs of developing
decentralised renewable energy sources.

Therefore, we kindly ask you to answer the following questions, which are of
importance to us and the Polish public:

  1. Are you aware that the expensive and delayed replacement of about 25% of coal-fired
    power plants with nuclear power plants (at the earliest after 25 years, if the projects would
    proceed according to plan, which is not at all means certain) – which is what the
    government’s current vision of a nuclear energy turnaround amounts to) – does not solve
    any of the already emerging problems, and at the same time does not offer any chance for
    the rapid decarbonisation of the Polish energy sector, so it is not consistent with the EU
    climate targets or with the commitments resulting from the Paris Agreement signed by
  2. Can you provide details of the construction costs of the nuclear power plants planned by
    the PiS government and the model of their financing, including expenditure from the State
    Consequently, what will be the prices of energy from nuclear power plants for consumers,
    farmers, industry and services?
  3. Are you aware of the planned storage site for nuclear waste, especially high-level
    nuclear waste, for hundreds or even thousands of years?
  4. Is it known where uranium ore is to come from and where ready-made uranium fuel
    cartridges for Polish power plants are to be produced? Do you know the environmental
    and social impacts and potential risks associated with the extraction and transport of
    uranium ore and the production and transport of finished fuel?
  5. Are you aware of the strategic, ecological, economic and social risks associated with the
    construction of nuclear power plants in Poland? The hostilities in Ukraine are making
    sensitive the energy system and networks based on large, easily cut-off and at the same
    time dangerous nuclear units. Do you really think that Poland’s dependence on nuclear
    fuel imports is less dangerous than its dependence on fossil fuels, which we must say
    goodbye to as soon as possible?
    The West is still dangerously dependent on uranium. The EU imports 20.2% of its uranium
    from Russia and 19.1% from Russia-dependent Kazakhstan. The US is at 16% and 22%
    respectively. The sanctions have not affected imports from these countries in any way.

    6) In your opinion, does the completely non-transparent procedure that led to the selection
    of Westinghouse as the contractor for Poland’s first nuclear power plant raise doubts, and
    is the contractor itself a cause for concern?
    As a reminder, Westinghouse caused a major public legal and financial scandal in the US
    in 2017 and was on the verge of bankruptcy after dramatically failing and overrunning
    budgets and schedules in the construction of four AP1000 nuclear reactors in the US – in
    Georgia and South Carolina – between 2008 and 2017, massively questioning the financial
    and technological credibility of the company and its ability to carry out such large-scale
  6. Why do you support the most expensive energy source when the potential of many
    times cheaper and scalable onshore and offshore wind or biogas and biomethane plants
    has not been sufficiently exploited?
    Here we mention only the cheapest, primary solution which should be energy saving –
    energy efficiency – “production of negatives”, strongly strengthening competitiveness and
    economic development.
    We have alternative, existing, much cheaper and safer technologies.
    Instead of spending PLN 254 billion from the budget and taxpayers on 9 000 MW
    (according to the government’s PPEJ programme until 2045 – the cost at 6 million
    Euro/MW of capacity; Note! – the necessary outlays for the power output to the power
    system and the adaptation of the infrastructure are not counted here, then it is necessary
    to count about 8 million Euro/MW)
    we can build with the funds of private companies and citizens – much faster,
    because within well under twenty years:
    1) 4 500 MW in new agricultural and municipal biogas plants – at a cost of about PLN
    100 billion, unit cost of EUR 4.7 million/MW (2022 prices), an excellent buffer technology
    for renewable energy from wind and solar, the construction of which would give a strong
    impetus to the development of Polish specialisation in this field, which is not guaranteed
    by entering into the construction of nuclear power plants under foreign licenses.
    2) Approx. 20 500 MW of onshore wind capacity at a total cost of approx. PLN 154
    billion, unit cost – EUR 1.6 million/MW (in 2022 prices) on this scale with the possibility of
    Polish specialisation as above.
    This potential would be able to generate 85-90 TWh per year of energy, most of which
    would be consumed close to these sources (without the need to build high voltage grids),
    while the planned nuclear reactors would at best generate 71 TWh (9 GW x 8760 h x 90%
    utilisation), i.e. much less and only in 25 years!
  7. Are you aware that there is another, groundbreaking and much cheaper model for
    transforming the energy economy, called “electroprosumerism”, based on 100% energy
    efficiency, decentralised renewable energy sources and stabilising the system through
    offshore wind turbines, energy storage, biogas plants, the internal energy market and
    electroinformatics? It does not require the construction of large fossil and nuclear units.
    Unlike centrally produced nuclear energy, it also helps to prevent energy poverty.
  8. Do you intend to have a broad public discussion on the energy transition model once
    you are in power, or do you intend to continue the incoherent plans of the law and justice
    government over the heads of the citizens?
  9. Do you accept the need to conclude real social agreements (not only sectoral) at the
    level of government, local governments, companies, trade unions and NGOs regarding the
    transformation of energy from fossil fuels to other clean and climate neutral energy
    We kindly ask you to provide specific answers to the above questions. We will be happy to
    publish the positions of the opposition parliamentary groups in our media. We are also
    ready for a broad debate with the participation of scientific, civic, local communities where
    nuclear energy investments are planned, experts on energy transition, energy efficiency
    and the civic energy sector. Such a debate may stop the waste of public money and allow
    citizens to participate in shaping a coherent Polish energy policy.

Signed by:

Prof. Dr. Kacper Szulecki, University of Oslo.
Prof. Dr. Jan Popczyk, Electrical Engineer, former President of PSE, author of the concept
of electrosumerism and climate neutrality 2050 for Poland, Silesian University of
Tomasz Sakowski, PhD, Professor, Institute of Animal Genetics and Biotechnology
Tomasz Podgajniak, Polish Chamber of Commerce for Renewable and Decentralised
Energy, former Minister of Environment
Prof. Dr. Maciej Nowicki, former Minister of Environment, Natural Resources and Forestry
Dr Krzysztof Bodzek, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Silesian University of Technology
Andrzej Dąbek, member of the Ślesin Municipal Council
Prof. Stanisław Żelichowski, former Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural
Resources and Forestry
Prof. Dr. habil. Ewa Bińczyk, Chair of Practical Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy, UMK
Prof. Dr. Jacek Piskozub, Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences
Dr. Hanna Schudy, Journalist, Activist, Doctor of Humanities (Environmental Ethics),
University of Wrocław
Prof. Tomasz Żylicz, PhD, University of Warsaw, Chair of Microeconomics, Centre for
Ecological Economics Warsaw
Tomasz Waśniewski, local politician and NGO activist, Chairman of the Foundation
“Rozwój Tak. Odkrywki Nie” (“Yes to development. No to opencast mining”) foundation.
Radosław Gawlik, former State Secretary and Vice-Minister for Environmental Protection,
Natural Resources and Forestry
Dariusz Szwed, economist and ecologist, former co-chair of the Green Party
Dr Michał Wilczyński, Round Table participant and former Deputy Minister of the
Chief Geologist of the country Dominik Dobrowolski – ecologist and traveller, Newsweek
Poland’s Socialist of the Year in 2022
Marcin Popkiewicz, physicist, megatrends analyst, editor of the “Earth at the Crossroads”
Anna Dziadek, economist, activist for the development of the Lubuskie Voivodeship, the
municipalities of Gubin and Brody without burning lignite, Chairwoman of the Board of the
Association of NO to Opencast Mining.
Dr. Andrzej Kassenberg, expert on climate policy, co-founder of the Institute for
Sustainable Development Foundation.
Leszek Budrewicz, journalist, poet, activist of the democratic opposition, one of the leaders
of the freedom and peace movement
Dr Maciej Kozakiewicz, former lecturer in business ethics at the University of Łódź, expert
on just transition
Piotr Brożyna, historian, opposition activist from the 1980s, President of FV Energia sp. z
Dr. Anna Bartczak, Professor, Faculty of Economics, University of Warsaw
Prof. Monika Kostera, Titular Professor of Economics and Humanities, Faculty of
Sociology, University of Warsaw, Södertörn University, Sweden; LITEM, l’Université Évry
Val-d’Essonne, France
Dr Jakub Skorupski, Faculty of Biology, University of Szczecin
Grzegorz Wiśniewski, active promoter and activist for RES and EE, founder and long-time
president of the Institute for Renewable Energy
Jacek Schindler, PhD, Institute of Cultural Studies, University of Wroclaw
Dr. Roman Szełemej, physician, mayor of Wałbrzych, head of the Wałbrzych
agglomeration and its transformation plan, which envisages the decarbonisation of the
agglomeration by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2040
Maciej Furmanek, mechanical engineer, activist of the Democratic Opposition – Movement
for Freedom and Peace against the falsification of information after the Chernobyl disaster
and the construction of nuclear power plants in Poland
Paweł Lachman, prominent RES expert and practitioner, Chairman of the Board of PORT
PC, Polish Organisation for the Development of Heat Pump Technology “PORT PC”.
Krzysztof Smolnicki, hydrogeologist, head of the Foundation for Ecological Development,
activist of the Democratic Opposition – Movement for Freedom and Peace against the
construction of nuclear power plants in Poland
Grzegorz Majewski, sociologist, activist of the democratic opposition “Solidarity” and the
movement “Freedom and Peace” against the construction of nuclear power plants in
Marcin Harembski, activist of the anti-nuclear movement, Social Atomic Monitor
Mira Stanisławska-Meysztowicz, social activist and environmentalist, educator and initiator
of the Sprzątanie Świata (“Cleaning up the World”) campaign in Poland


Centre for Citizens’ Rights and Democratisation Studies, Wrocław (Centrum Praw
Obywatelskich i Badań nad Demokracją)
Ecological Association EKO-UNIA, Wrocław (Stowarzyszenie Ekologiczne EKO-UNIA)
Green Institute Foundation, Warsaw, Krakow (Fundacja Zielony Instytut)
Green Zone Foundation, Warsaw (Fundacja Strefa Zieleni)
Green News, Warsaw (Zielone Wiadomości)
Green Light Foundation, Warsaw (Fundacja Zielone Światło)
Association Workplace for All Beings, Bystra (Stowarzyszenie Pracownia na rzecz
Wszystkich Istot)
Forum Association for Ecological Agriculture, Warsaw (Stowarzyszenie Forum Rolnictwa
Tadeusz Mazowiecki Association, Warsaw (Stowarzyszenie im. Tadeusza Mazowieckiego)
Niesiołowice Węsiory Stone Circle Association , Niesiołowice (Stowarzyszenie
Niesiołowice Węsiory Kamienne Kręgi)
Klub Gaja Ecological and Cultural Association, Wilkowice
Association for the Protection of Natural Coastal Areas BALTIC SOS, Słajszewo
(Stowarzyszenie Obrony Naturalnych Obszarów Nadmorskich BAŁTYCKIE SOS)
Greenpeace Poland Foundation, Warsaw
Foundation Institute for Sustainable Development, Warsaw (Fundacja Instytut na rzecz
Society of Friends of the Ina and Gowienica Rivers, Stepnica (Towarzystwo Przyjaciół
Rzek Iny i Gowienicy)
Stepnica Tourist Organisation, Stepnica (Stepnicka Organizacja Turystyczna)
Association NO to open-pit mine, Brody (Stowarzyszenie NIE kopalni odkrywkowej)
Green Federation “GAJA”, Szczecin (Federacja Zielonych “GAJA”)
New Idea Association, Wrocław (Stowarzyszenie Nowa Idea)
Our Earth Foundation, Warsaw-Wrocław (Fundacja Nasza Ziemia)

Projekt „EkoObywatel – wsparcie interwencji i zmian systemowych” jest realizowany przez Stowarzyszenie Ekologiczne EKO-UNIA z dotacji Programu Aktywni Obywatele Fundusz Krajowy finansowanego przez Islandię, Liechtenstein i Norwegię w ramach Funduszy EOG.

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